McNair delivers for North at Euros

Paddy McNair’s first international goal saw Northern Ireland snatch a 1-0 win over Belarus and make it four wins out of four in Euro 2020 qualifying.

A late night in Borisov looked like ending in frustration for Michael O’Neill’s men as they toiled in hot and humid conditions, but with four minutes left McNair found the breakthrough.

The Middlesbrough midfielder took the ball from Jordan Jones on the left, skipped over the challenge of Sergei Kisylak, and struck a low shot under the diving Aleksandr Gutor.

The goal sparked wild celebrations from the Northern Ireland players who have repeated the mantra of targeting 12 points from their opening four fixtures and can now celebrate achieving it.

With half the group games gone, they have given themselves every chance of qualifying for a second consecutive European finals.

The victory piles pressure on the Netherlands,who may have two games in hand but will head to Germany in September nine points behind Northern Ireland, who are sitting pretty at the top of the group.

Germany ran out 8-0 winners over Estonia in Mainz to make it three wins from three qualifying games.

Marco Reus, Serge Gnabry, and Leon Goretzka were all on target in the opening 20 minutes.

Manchester City midfielder Ilkay Gundogan made it 4-0 from the penalty spot, with Reus adding another ahead of the break.

It remained one-way traffic in the second half, Gnabry grabbing another just after the hour, before substitute Timo Werner and Manchester City winger Leroy Sane scored.

Wales suffered a hurtful Euro 2020 qualifying defeat as Group E leaders Hungary beat them 1-0 in Budapest.

Mate Patkai drove home the winner 10 minutes from time after Wales - 32 places above Hungary in the world rankings - had failed to clear the ball in their own penalty area.

It was a second defeat for Wales in the space of four days and leaves them six points behind Hungary, albeit with a game in hand, and three adrift of Slovakia and Croatia.

Patkai’s strike will have proved especially painful for Gareth Bale, who had a moment in front of goal on the hour mark that he will want to forget.

Wales sprung the Hungary offside trap superbly as David Brooks swerved away from his marker and fed the ball into Tom Lawrence’s path.

Lawrence looked up and picked out the unmarked Bale, but the Real Madrid forward scooped the ball straight at Hungary goalkeeper Peter Gulacsi.

Also in Group E, captain Marek Hamsik scored twice as Slovakia ran out 5-1 winners away to Azerbaijan to move above Croatia into second.

Stanislav Lobotka put the visitors ahead with a 20-yard effort in the eighth minute and a free-kick from Juraj Kucka doubled the lead.

Ramil Sheydayev swiftly pulled a goal back for Azerbaijan, but Hamsik, who joined Chinese club Dalian Yifang from Napoli in February, added a third on the half-hour.

Hamsik made it 4-1 in the 57th minute with defender David Hancko wrapping things up with five minutes left.

France returned to the top of Group H with a 4-0 win in Andorra.

Kylian Mbappe put France, who had been beaten by Turkey in their last match, ahead in the 11th minute, with Wissam Ben Yedder adding a second on the half-hour mark.

Florian Thauvin made it 3-0 just before half-time and Chelsea centre-back Kurt Zouma wrapped up a comfortable win on the hour.

Defender Ragnar Sigurdsson scored twice as Iceland beat Turkey 2-1 in Reykjavik.

Sigurdsson headed the home side in front in the 21st minute following a free-kick and then nodded in from close range on 10 minutes later.

Turkey pulled a goal back through Dorukhan Tokoz from a corner five minutes before half-time but Iceland closed out victory to move level on nine points with the top two.

Elsewhere, Albania beat Moldova 2-0.

More on this topic

Lindahl's super save sends Sweden through to World Cup quarter-finals

Norwich sign Switzerland striker Josip Drmic on a free transfer

Rapinoe strikes twice from the spot to guide USA into World Cup quarter-finals

Ireland international Andy Boyle rejoins Dundalk

More in this Section

Derby hoping for quick resolution after letting Chelsea speak to Lampard

Ireland’s Ryan Mullen a single second off time trial medal at European Games

Cricket legend Lara in Indian hospital after health scare

Wexford dealt suspension blow ahead of Leinster final


Lifestyle

Hozier adds more believers to his church after Cork gig

Simply off the wall: Your go-to guide to shelving

Peter Dowdall shares his top 4 flower picks to add a splash of summer colour to your garden

Ask a counsellor: ‘Why does my husband hate that our daughter’s dating a man going through divorce?’

More From The Irish Examiner